Lee's buzzer-beater lifts BR over Reed City
REED CITY -- With 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation during a tie game, Big Rapids sophomore Demarcus Lee sank a 3-pointer from near mid-court, and in turn sank the hopes any and all Reed City supporters to give the Cardinals the 56-53 win over their archrivals on Friday night at RCHS.
Following Reed City's 55-52 win over the Cardinals on Jan. 17, Friday's BR-victory evens the season series.
With the second and final regular-season edition of the Cardinal-Coyote rivalry in the books, the victorious Cardinals have improved to 10-6 (7-5) on the season with four games to go.
Reed City's record on the season drops to 6-11 (5-7)
"I thought it was money," Lee said after the victory. "I'm like 'this is game time' because I practice these shots."
Scoring was difficult to come by for both sides and it was Reed City who took a 10-9 advantage into the second quarter, but only one team managed to get its offense back on track for quarter two.
Holding the Coyotes to just two points and catching fire from long distance, Big Rapids nearly doubled up their rivals by the end of the first half to go into the locker room on top 23-12.
In the final quarter, the shots began to fall with more regularity for both sides and Reed City was able to chip away the deficit all the way down to five points with three minutes remaining on the clock.
"That'll bring our energy level way up because it's a rivalry game," Lee said.
The Cardinals increased their lead to 10 points at the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter but it was trimmed back down to six with 67 seconds left, prompting Reed City to foul BR.
After some missed Big Rapids free-throws with 21 seconds left, Reed City tied the game at 53 and forced a Cardinal turnover, but a missed shot and a quick rebound gave Lee just enough time to be the hero on an important night.
Although they were swept by their rivals from Big Rapids during the 2018-19 season series, the Coyotes did earn a 56-46 win over the Cardinals in the opening round of last year's District 35 Tournament.